As Spartan Race continues to grow, we are excited to announce the arrival of another new Pro Team member, Orla Walsh. Never actually believing she would be rubbing shoulders with established names like Amelia Boone and Rose Wetzell-Sinnett, Orla is a racer to be taken very seriously. A remarkable achievement when one considers the past year is her first in OCR.

Of the signing onto the Pro Team she said, To be on the Pro Team can mean many different things to a variety of people. Soon after I started OCR – less than a year ago – I figured out who was who and what athletes were on the Pro Team. I never thought my name would be on the team roster. In the past year I decided to commit my training and workouts towards OCR.  The hard work and dedication I have put in the last year is being slowly showcased in my performances in the races I have competed in.”

“Being a part of the Pro Team makes me want to work harder, train harder, be stronger. I feel so honored to be a part of an amazing group of athletes and hope to continue to grow as an athlete. Making the Pro Team is surely an honor and I will work hard to prove to the team, to Spartan, and all the obstacle racers out there I belong on the team for a long time.”

But she’s not assuming that she’s “made it.” Like a true professional, she’s taking this as a reason to step up the training and not rest on her laurels. With her training background one of being a sprinter, she’s adapting her training, looking at nutrition, adding weights and transitioning her skills into Spartan Races.

Orla’s explosion on the Spartan Race circuit has impressed many.

Bringing this skill set with her to the races has helped Orla podium at a 50% success rate. This incredible stat of landing a podium position in at least one of every two races she puts down to her strengths at short Sprints.

I believe my strengths are the short sprints, downhill running and I am pretty quick on the obstacles. To be honest, I am still learning techniques to get over obstacles quicker, but that will come with time. I couldn’t even climb a rope or do Monkey Bars my first race! My weaknesses are definitely hills and long endurance as I have a 5k background. Even fueling and hydrating during races is all fairly new to me. It has been a great education learning about all these training additions I was never aware of as a short distance runner! I am willing to push myself and get the miles under me I need to race in the future.”

Looking ahead, Orla is hoping to strike up some banter and fun with the other female elites. While competition is clearly the most important factor, the bond of the team makes the whole thing so much more fun. “I’d have to say we are all friendly rivalries!”, laughs the Vermont-born runner. “The women’s elite is an amazing group of talented and super athletic women! Not too long ago, I never thought I would be able to run and hang with these women. I may not be in the lead yet, but I am closing the gap between us.”

What advice does she have for those starting out in Spartan Race? To not listen to the word “quit.”

“For newbies out there…DONT GIVE UP! I went out for my first race with my friends, I had no idea how to climb a rope, monkey bars or rings. I did my 90 Burpees and vowed I would hit the gym and learn how to conquer them. Be strong mentally, love what you are doing, train for the goals you set in front of you. You can achieve your dreams and goals by believing in yourself and getting after it!”

We are excited to have Orla Walsh on the Spartan Pro Team, keep your eyes on her, she’s making big moves and fast.

See you at the finish line, Orla!

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Spartan Race is proud to announce the latest addition to the Spartan Race Pro Team, Chad Trammell. Of 12 races, he has taken podium places 9 times. A highly enviable achievement.

Speaking of his signing onto the team, Chad said, “It feels great! I have so much respect for the athletes on the team, and am very proud to count them as teammates. I’ve always liked the team aspect of running, which many consider to be an individual sport, and it’s the same with OCR. Being part of the Spartan Pro Team gives that extra push, knowing that you’re representing The Spartan Pro Team, the organization, and most importantly everyone out there who races.”

Being on the Pro Team was something he has been working towards for some time. Noticing that he was sometimes finishing ahead of many recognized Elites since his first race in Arizona of 2013, he made the assumption that he’d be picked up immediately. When he wasn’t, his true character shone through and it only fueled him further to dig deeper, push harder and run faster. He understood he needed to prove himself over time. So that is what he did.

Now that he’s on board officially, he rubs his hands with glee, relishing the chance to pick up some friendly rivalries with members of the Pro Team.

“Absolutely!,” he beams, “one of my goals is to beat all the top racers in the sport at least once, and I have been able to best almost everyone at least once, including Hobie Call, Brakken Kraker, David Magida, Max King, James Appleton, Matt Murphy, Glenn Racz, John Yatzko, and Matt Novakovich. The two guys who are still on my list are Hunter McIntyre and Cody Moat, and I’ve come very close to both of them, so I’ll have a little extra motivation next time I’m in a race against them.”

Coming from a background where his strengths were running at pace with endurance, Chad quickly realized that he had weaknesses at some obstacles, especially around the heavy carries, such as the sandbag and bucket brigade. Such was his determination that he now considers them a strength, highlighted by wins in the heavy-obstacle driven race at Colorado and also in Monterey. His next target is to improve on his steep inclines so that he can compete with climbing specialists like Matt Novakovich.

Spartan welcomes Chad Trammell with open arms and looks forward to watching his growth as an athlete and member of the Spartan Pro Team. Congrats on your success so far Chad, we’ll see you at the finish line!

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Today Spartan Race hit a landmark of 4million Facebook fans! YOU made that happen and because of you we are going to celebrate being Spartans by cranking out 30 burpees all across the globe. Grab your friends, grab a camera, and get some video footage of yourselves doing 30 burpees! Spartan Citizen Cody Allen got us started today from far away Afghanistan. Thanks Cody!

 

YouTube

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Would it be fair to assume that having the opportunity to get something extra is a good thing?

Say, you expect ABC, but all of a sudden, D, E and F are there, wouldn’t you want to try those, too? Well Spartan Race believes that offering just that little bit more is something that all Spartan racers would like to embrace, and as such, we’re adding dates to already existing venues.

In September, when we come to Chicago, we’ll have a Super and a Sprint over that weekend. In October when we visit Carolinas, there’ll be a Sprint and a Beast. 

But that’s not all. Sacramento has a Sprint as well as a Super and we’ve also added another date to the event in Dallas. There’ll be a Beast and a Sprint for you to get your teeth stuck into. Go on! Take a bite!

Here are the updated races:

Chicago – September 27th – Super
Chicago – September 28th – Sprint

Carolinas – October 25th – Beast
Carolinas – October 26th – Super

Sacramento – October 25th – Super
Sacramento – October 26th – Sprint

Dallas – November 1st – Beast
Dallas – November 2nd – Sprint

If you needed more options to fulfill your Trifecta, then this will help you. Perhaps you’re even aiming a little higher? Some of you are going for Double and even Triple Trifectas! We can only stand back and admire the tenacity and focus you seem to possess. AROO!

With the addition of these extra races, you can now convince family and friends that feel they might not be ready for a Super or a Beast, to try out a Sprint. Once that mud and water hits their legs and the dirt goes under the fingernails, they’ll understand what you already know.

Why not run with these first timers and guide them along?

Click on any of the links above and sign up today for extra races and the opportunity to not only get more race time under your belt, but more medals, more mud and perhaps best of all, the chance to run with someone and finally introduce them to something you could never explain with words.

Sometimes you just have to get under that barbed wire or up that rope to truly understand. Of course, there’s one sure fire way of “getting it.” You’ll know at the finish line.

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Run for a Reason!

Tired of just running another race for a medal and t-shirt?  Spartan is providing an opportunity to race for MORE….  Sign up for the Charity Challenge and you can support your favorite charity …oh and you still get the medal, t-shirt and bragging rights!

How do you get involved?  Gather your friends together that want to support a great cause and create a team in that charity’s name for the 10am Charity Challenge Heat on September 21, 2014 in Killington, VT.   In terms of the course itself, expect the usual Spartan shenanigans, but just because it’s for charity, don’t expect the course to be any less challenging. While the course may be a sprint distance at 4 miles or so, there are still all manner of obstacles, terrain and burpees on offer.

A prize pool of $10,000 is up for grabs that will be shared amongst the top teams, so now is the time to sign up and be a part of something special.  Once your team is registered you should start your fundraising page at CrowdRise to start the race to win the prize for top fundraiser.

Last year, teams from all over the country took part in the challenge, raising money for a variety of causes. If the urge grabs you, why not contact these teams and join them for this year?

The team that won last year, Team Livestrong, was led by Iram Leon who has an inoperable brain cancer. Along with his team mates, which included Pro Teamer Alexander Nicholas, Iram’s team won. Recalling the day, Iram said, “We were awarded a check for $2500 which Alexander without hesitation or pause said should be directed to the charities that have helped along the course of my journey. Like with the Spartans, I started pretty poorly along the course on cancer and had to have better more experienced people help guide me on how to do some things better. The Livestrong Cancer navigation center pointed me to Imerman Angels and connected me to someone else who had the same cancer (who while we’ve been in touch we had not met in person until the Spartan in Chicago), they pointed me to Wonders and Worries who provided Kiana counseling about the situation and me on how to share it with her, and together Seton hospital and Livestrong have created a committee which I help with that helps young adult cancer survivors, a group that because of various gets less attention than childhood and old age cancers.”

Also racing was Team Winter, led by Winter Vinecki, the incredible young girl who at only 14 years of age, had already completed numerous long distance events including the Antarctica and Inca Trail marathons. Despite being in the middle of a schedule that saw her run seven marathons on seven continents, she took time out from her busy schedule to take part. Running for her charity Team Winter, inspired by the tragic loss of her father to prostate cancer, she now honors his memory by raising money through incredible feats of endurance including triathlons and marathons. Winter’s story can be seen here.

Naturally many other teams were involved too. Team One Spirit, the Cornfed Spartans (who supported All for Hope Charity) and also Team You Cannot Fail who supported the Boomer Esiason Foundation, all of whom attacked the course with an added sense of urgency.

Don’t miss all the action and of course it’s the ONLY race you can get a yellow finisher’s medal and Charity t-shirt! 
The breakdown of prize money goes like this:

Top 3 fastest teams win for their charity:

1st place = $4,000
2nd place = $2,000
3rd place = $1,000

But we will also award the top 3 fundraisers win for their charity:

1st place = $1,500
2nd place = $1,000
3rd place = $500

So what are you waiting for? Get a team together and we’ll see you in Vermont!

See you at the finish line!

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It was the Virginia Super of 2013. Hobie was in his prime and the Spartan Pro Team were a very recognizable who’s-who line up of OCR. From nowhere, an unknown racer named Matt Novakovich appeared on the scene by not just winning the race, but establishing a crushing margin of over six minutes.

A flash-in-the-pan, one-hit wonder? 14 podium finishes since that race would beg to differ. The man from Alaska runs up hills at the same speed most people run across a football field. His almost inhuman ability to ignore pain married with his incredible muscle memory means that not only should his appearance at a starting line be respected, but feared. Add to this the way he breezes through, over and under any obstacles put before him, he is the complete racer. There is nothing, it seems, that is capable of slowing him down.

A heavy hitter within the elite ranks he is someone to be taken seriously, and with the additional training he is doing courtesy of Joe Desena – in the same way Hunter McIntyre did before him – only time will tell if Matt’s experience will defeat the youthful exuberance of those a little younger than him. The Vermont World Championship weekend is shaping up to be even tighter than last year.

But for all his firepower and strength, his cheeky sense of humor and trademark grin are the first things you notice about him. Just don’t mistake his friendliness for weakness…after all they do call him, “The Bear.” 

Matt “The Bear” Novakovich
DOB: 3/27/74
Weight: 148 height: 5’9”
Hometown:  Anchorage, AK

Current residence/location:  Anchorage, AK
Pro Team member since: August 2013
Podium finishes (up to end Dec 2013): 14
Best strength: Climbing and Heavy Grinding

 

1) What is your background?
I ran the steeple chase for Brigham Young University. I graduated with a degree in business and information systems. In 2000, I started Novakovich Roofing and have been carrying heavy roofing materials for 25 years of my life. From 2000 to 2009 I competed as a category 1 cyclist and then switched to sky running steep mountains from 2009 to 2013. In 2012, I set a record for climbing 24,000 vertical feet in 9 hours and then won Mt. Marathon in the same year. I switched to Spartan after beating Hobie by six minutes in the climbing focused Virginia Super.

2) What does Spartan mean to you personally?
Spartan racing is a new challenge to me. I’m enthralled by the premise that the skinniest of runners can be beat by the 200 pound juggernauts and vise versa. I also love how the Spartan experience challenges everyone in a very special way. Everyone has a weakness at the Spartan venues and we all have to try to overcome them without giving up what our original strengths are.

3) How do you prepare?
I believe that there is no substitute for volume. I train my aerobic system twice as much as the 20 year olds and I am willing to grind out 3 hour sessions on the treadmill unlike the younger athletes. I believe in the concept of experienced muscles getting better with age. I believe that years of endurance training and racing cannot be substituted with short cuts and I take pride in crushing younger, cocky athletes ☺

4) What is your favorite WOD?
My favorite WOD is to climb 3000 vertical feet. Then do active stretching, drills and strides and begin 5×5 intervals on the incline trainer at 40% at 3 plus miles per hour. I believe that this is my gold standard and the 40% is equivalent to sub 5 minute mile pace without the pounding.

5) What is your favorite single exercise and what is you least favorite exercise?
My favorite exercise is climbing mountains fast and light. I love the scenery, fresh air and being away from people. I love taking routes that typically get me lost or at least delayed by hours from my original “plan.”

My least favorite workout is running. I used to enjoy it obviously as that was my background, however as I’m older I find that the cons of running for me include, stomach distress, knee surgeries and repetitive boredom.

6) What is your favorite FOD?
My favorite food is anything I don’t have to cook. I never have followed a recipe and I don’t plan to start. My breakfast is typically 2 packets of instant oatmeal, yogurt and diet coke.  Lunch is a sandwich that includes lots of veggies and hopefully egg whites for the protein.  Dinner is whatever we are doing for dinner. My wife, Tiffanie, is a really good cook so this is my weakness:  Pushing the plate away before I’ve had 2nds, 3rds, and 4ths.

After 7PM is the curse of the athlete trying to lean up for major events. If I can avoid the gram-crackers and milk, Coke, cereal and yogurt in the late hours I can generally be lean and mean going into important events.

7) Advice for newbies going forward that have no idea where or how to start.
It is never too late to start.  If you have become overweight through years of poor eating be patient and realize time and consistency are your friends. It is okay to “feel hungry” when cutting calories and starting a new training plan. “Feeling hungry” is our bodies way of saying “it’s working.” If you are not overweight, but just a little out of shape, realize this:  Trained properly most of us are a mere six months away from our best fitness ever.  

8) What is your favorite Spartan Race to date?
Vermont World Championships.

I had a lot of pressure to win and I fell flat on my face. Google “Vermont World Championships” and watch the footage of me shivering and cramping and considering quitting. I did not quit. However, through pushing to my 16th place finish I learned a lot about my will power, my desire to succeed and what it takes to be a champion.

9) If someone was on the edge about doing a Spartan Race, what would you say to them?

I’ve never been to an athletic event in my life where 1st place looks like they are having as much fun as the person finishing last out of 20,000 people. The Spartan experience makes everyone feel like a champ because everyone is.  Until completing a Spartan Race one will never understand the fulfillment that comes from completing one. After finishing one your friends will unfriend you on Facebook because that will be all you ever talk about anymore.

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Written by Pro Team member Elliot Megquier

Reebok Spartan Race will kick off the first of two race weekends in Tuxedo, NY which is just north of New York City by 45 miles. To say this is going to be a big event is an understatement. Tuxedo is the only race in the USA Spartan circuit that is a double back to back weekend. Last year Spartan Race held 3 races in Tuxedo over the course of 8 days. This year they’ve bumped it up to 4 races in 9 days.

Tuxedo Ridge Ski Center is the venue and you can expect numerous climbs to the summit that has an elevation of 1200 feet. Set in the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, be prepared to see ascents and descents through the woods, challenging obstacles after your legs are destroyed from climbing, one of the hardest uphill barb wire crawls on the circuit and of course lots of mud in and around the finish line.

Hunter and Glenn share a joke in Vegas.

For the men look for points leader and championship contender Hunter “the Sheriff” McIntyre to continue his recent dominance of the series, his top contender looks to be Glenn Racz who beat the Sheriff in Vegas, mountain man Matt “the Bear” Novakovich will look to maul the pretty boy from Malibu. Other Spartan Team men that could contend include David Magida, Isaiah Vidal, Elliott Megquier, Cody Moat, Miguel Medina, Brian Hoover, and Alexander Nicholas. However you can never count out the locals to include 2013 Week 1 Champion Patrick Grevalding, runner up Randy Feeley, and Kevin Donoghue.

On the women’s side look for reigning champion Amelia Boone who is coming off a win in Indiana to be the favorite, however Rose Wetzel-Sinnett has been hot on her heels and is coming off three straight wins in Texas and Montana, and look for TyAnn Clark to return from a recent battle with illness to build on her impressive win in Las Vegas the last time she raced. Other women who will contend include April Dee, Ella Kociuba, Tiffany Novakovich, Karlee Whipple, and Laura Messner.

Amelia Boone will look to assert her authority in NY.

Most of the stars will only be present for the second week of racing, so look for a possible dark horse to shock the field. You can never count anyone out and sometimes it is the person who you do not know that is gunning for you that is most dangerous. Other events to look forward to include the Kid’s Race and all the festival challenges where you can win an entry into an upcoming race. Looking for other ways to get a free race? Volunteer one of the days or even a half day. These wonderful events cannot happen without you help, Spartan Race Staff members are amazing and tireless workers but they cannot do it all without you! This is going to be an amazing two weeks you’ll you kicking yourself if you don’t come and experience at least one of the races…

The 2014 Tristate Tuxedo Sprint marks the start of guest blogger Elliott Megquier’s fourth year doing Spartan Races. Back in 2011 when Spartan Race first hosted a sprint in Tuxedo NY, he toed the line for the very first time, now he’s completed 85 races and is still as hooked as he was during his initial experience. It’s true Elliott’s a junkie.

Sign up for your next race today and you’ll understand what it means to “know at the finish line…”

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How many times in the life of the average person can they say that they competed at an Olympic-quality venue? When was the last time you were in an event at the same place Olympians were tested in their pursuit of gold? We’d wager that the number would be quite low. But register for the Beast in Utah and you will be scaling the very same hills that competitors from around the world were tested on during the winter Olympic games in 2002. And let’s not make any mistake here, we’re talking about events that needed not just muscle, but will too; the biathlon, cross-country skiing and Nordic combined (the cross-country skiing portion).

Since the Olympics and Paralympics, Soldier Hollow has continued the tradition of ski racing and biathlon, by playing host to the Under 23 World Championships in 2004 and U.S. Championships in 2005 and 2006. Spartan Race takes its choice of venues very seriously. This is the Spartan Beast and you’re going to know and feel it.

In less than an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City, just outside of the beautiful Swiss-settled town of Midway, the Soldier Hollow venue sits under the watchful eyes of the Wasatch Mountains. A truly epic venue and one of the most stunningly beautiful landscapes in the Spartan Race calendar. With the weather also expected to reach its usual high 80’s temperature, be prepared for a testing, but memorable day. Naturally, running at altitude in this heat, we’d always advise you to carry your own hydration in addition to the water stations we will have on course.

For the traveler, there are a range of accommodation options very close to the venue in the aforementioned town of Midway.  On the Midway website of the town itself, you will find lodging options there and given the friendly and hospitable nature of the locals, this may be an avenue you’d like to explore. Drink in the atmosphere of the Swiss theme throughout the town, making note especially of the architecture which oozes Germanic charm and overtones.

If you’d prefer the bright lights of the big city, a wider selection of hotels can be found here for options when it comes to accommodation. Given that you’ve made the journey, why not make a long weekend out of it and try out some more fun things to do? There’s go-karting, Seven Peaks Waterpark or even the always fun time of paint-balling.

But naturally, you’ll be hungry. Whether it’s the carb-loading the day before, or replenishing those calories that you burned off, frankly, you are spoilt for choice. There is even a specialized site you can use that is all about the Herber Vally area. Within this, there are drop down menus for the cuisine style, category and even price level, so you can choose precisely the type of experience you like. This very same site offers options for places to stay, and things to do, so be sure to check that out.

If you’d prefer to head back to Salt Lake City, Urban Spoon has listed almost a thousand places for you to choose from. With the same handy drop down menus that can target specific cuisine styles, prices and even the neighborhood local to where you are staying. So, should you decide that something Asian would tickle your taste buds after conquering the Soldier Hollow course, then the options are there. Brazilian, Indian, European… it’s all there.

Salt Lake City always welcomes Spartan Racers.

If a taxi is what you need, Yelp has a great selection and naturally, as is the nature of Yelp, you can read past reviews of their service. Of course, if you’d much rather hire a car and drive yourself, there are plenty of car hire options via Expedia right here.

You may have heard about how alcohol is dealt with a little tighter in Utah than perhaps other states. To make it very clear for visitors, Utah.gov has neatly listed the laws regarding the buying and consumption of alcohol right here. Naturally, Spartans behave appropriately at all times anyway, but sometimes if you’re unsure of local laws, it’s always wise to make sure you know what the situation is.

So get ready for the Beast and make sure your training includes lots of muscle memory. If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail.

See you at the finish line…

credit: balladspahr

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By Holly Joy Berkey

After much of the country endured a very long and bitter winter, the cold has finally subsided and we now find ourselves eagerly anticipating the warmth of the summer months.  But along with the excitement of balmy summer days and the promise of sunshine and plenty of time spent outdoors, this time of year can also bring with it the jarring realization of forgotten New Year’s Resolutions, a sudden awareness of an overabundance of holiday indulging, and the overwhelming dread of “bikini season”.

Women are constantly bombarded with the pressure to fit a specific body type, especially as the warmest months of the year arrive.  It seems as though a wave of disappointment begins to wash over us as we are forced to peer back at the women on fashion magazines, smiling happily at us as they pose confidently in their tiny bikinis.  The headlines enticing us with their perfect “quick fix” to help us magically drop 10-15 pounds in just a matter of days.  And just like that our brains convince us that we are inferior, telling us that because we have not achieved the body we see before us that we have failed, and a sudden drop in self-confidence leaves us spiraling into a self-loathing depression.

Each year we repeat this cycle, and each year the pressure is on to achieve the perfect bikini body.  Unfortunately it seems that our society teaches us that little to no actual effort is required to attain long lasting results, and instead we are bombarded with ads promising that we can drop a copious amount of weight within just a few days by completing a quick workout and sticking to their prescribed diet.  This is not realistic, nor is it a healthy way to lose weight.

How many women do you know (or perhaps are you one of them?) who suddenly hit the panic button when summer suddenly arrives? Thus begins a manic flurry of massive calorie restrictions, diet pills and workout overkill guaranteed to burn out even the most determined of women.  Even though a few pounds may be initially lost, this weight reduction is fleeting, as sooner or later our bodies need proper nutrition, realistic fitness goals and a healthy approach to maintain lasting results.  The yo-yo effect can wreak havoc not only on your body, but on your self-confidence as well, as you swing back and forth between self-hatred and frantic desperation while trying to maintain a lifestyle based around deprivation.

So how do we overcome this vicious cycle and instead find ourselves approaching summer with confidence?  You may even wonder if this is even possible.  To begin with, committing to a lifestyle which combines healthy eating with a workout plan which is consistent and realistic is key.  Our bodies aren’t meant to gain and lose excessive amounts within a short period of time, but a pound or two lost a week by means of a healthy diet and exercise is much more likely to stay off in the long run.  We also need to realize that these goals take time.  Just as it takes time to gain weight (which is why we generally don’t realize the vast impact that we’ve made on our bodies until more pounds than we care to admit have crept onto our bodies), it also takes time to lose weight.  I’ve met countless women who have begun a journey towards better health, who become frustrated when results do not instantly happen, and then they give up, convinced that the desired weight loss will never occur.  It’s then that they then tend to revert to the “quick fix diets” which unfortunately will never truly deliver the results that are so desired.

But not only do women need to focus on committing to a lifestyle focused on healthy diet and exercise that is a long term investment, but also (and this is much easier said than done), we need to stop being so hard on ourselves.

I recently saw an incredibly inspiration video that had been shared in the Spartan Chicked Facebook group, and it moved me to think about how hard we as women are on ourselves, and a lot of times on each other as well.  The video hosted Tarynn Brumfitt, a woman who has struggled with body image issues for years, much like the majority of women in our society today.  As a former body builder, she realized that even with the “perfect body” she still found herself lacking confidence as to how she felt about herself.  She then went on to become a mother, which produced curves that left her feeling much less than perfect.  Upon taking on a project to ask 100 women to describe themselves in one word, she was horrified as each woman she asked replied with a self-loathing description; “Lumpy, Fat, Ugly, Average, Stumpy..” these are just a few of the replies she heard, and she began to wonder if her own daughter would someday feel the same way about her own body, refusing the see the beauty that she too possesses.  This changed something in Tarynn, and she has now committed to loving her body, no matter her shape, and began the “Embrace” movement, which is raising money for a documentary that will be centered on teaching women to learn to love their bodies.

Tarynn’s story is just one of many in which women are choosing to fight against the urge to fall into a pattern of self-hatred, fad dieting, and unrealistic workout goals.  What we as women need to do is band together to support one another in our individual objectives.  We need to encourage, love, and advocate for each other, and we need to commit to loving ourselves as well.  This isn’t easy, but it’s possible, and surrounding ourselves with other women who are devoted to this same mindset will help us be that much more successful in our own personal fitness and health goals.

I recently saw a great meme online that said, “How do you get a bikini body? Simple.  Put a bikini on your body.”  Several drawings of women of all shapes and sizes in bikinis were then displayed.  What a great message!  Yes, I do believe we should all strive to be as healthy as we can, but we also must realize that we are all at different stages of that journey.  Just because you may not look like a model on a magazine, does not mean that the great things that you are working toward achieving shouldn’t be celebrated!  Just don’t give up; you can do what you set out to do!

So should you rock that bikini?  Yes!  Wear it confidently!  Love the body you have, and keep working steadily toward your goals, I know you’ve got this! Spartan Chicked women are strong, confident, and dedicated, and as long as you don’t forget how beautiful you truly are, you’ll live with confidence as you continue on your journey of healthy, happy living.

~Holly Joy Berkey

www.muddymommy.com

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Just the words “Virginia Super Spartan Race” sends shivers down the spines of many who witnessed what course designer Norm Koch prepared for them last year. One of the most brutal courses in the history of Spartan Race left many competitors really experiencing what it meant to “know at the finish line”. Those Blue Ridge Mountains just seem to go on and on, don’t they?

Virginia 2013 was also notable for the emergence of Matt Novakovich, who exploded from nowhere to not only win, but dared to beat the legend, Hobie Call, by around two minutes. The Alaskan has since gone on from strength to strength and is now a regular podium finisher and a staple of the Spartan Pro Team.

So, what’s in store this year? Well, let’s just say that while, as per usual, we’re not giving anything away, we’ll just tell you that having good leg muscle memory will be useful to you. With the race being a Super, there will be at least 8 miles of obstacles and trails. We’re going to put down 3 water stations for you, but if you don’t think that will suffice, by all means bring your own means of carrying fluids. Cramping and dehydration aren’t fun things to experience and bear in mind that Nellysford experiences average temperatures in the mid 80’s in August, as with most things Spartan related, if you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail.

For those making a road trip to the beautiful surroundings of the Wintergreen Resort in Nellysford, the first priority is somewhere to stay. By clicking here, you can have a browse through which hotels tick your relevant boxes. If you’d prefer something a little cheaper, there is a hostel close by that might be able to help you. With the accommodation in the area all boasting good reviews, you can be safe in the knowledge that you’ll be well looked after.

There’s also the option of the good old-fashioned bed and breakfast, should you choose to go down that route. With all the establishments with reviews scoring either 4 out of 5 or higher, it’s clear that making travelers and strangers welcome is something that Charlottesville excels at.

The same goes for when you want to either carb up or replace all those calories you’ll have burned off on the course – because trust us, you will!

There are almost 450 restaurants and places to eat that are featured on Tripadvisor’s site and thanks to their site, you can select the style you are looking for, if you have those pangs for something particular. Whether it be your typical American steakhouse, or if it’s something a little more exotic, such as Greek, Indian or Thai cuisine. With so much on offer and such a broad range available, there will almost certainly be something that will fill whichever hunger hole you have.

Some of the best terrain is waiting for you.

But if having a drink and possibly shaking your stuff is something that is high on your list of priorities, that’s well covered in the reviews section on Yelp for the area. Additionally, you have a selection of wine bars, nightclubs and even “dive” bars, if you prefer that kind of thing. Again, with many scoring very high and positive reviews, having a good time is an almost certainty.

Naturally, the responsible Spartan makes sure there’s a designated driver if alcohol passes the lips, but if not there are some local taxi companies that will be able to make sure you get back to your accommodation safe and sound.

For more information about the area, there is a very useful website that is all about Charlottesville. Have a look here and you’ll find out about things to see and do, just in case you choose to make a long weekend of it after celebrating your Super finish.

See you at the finish line!

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